The Benefits Of A Marital Settlement Agreement In A Florida Divorce
Some couples, when unable to reach an agreement on important divorce-related issues, are required to litigate those matters in court, where they leave the determination of those issues in the hands of a judge. This, however, is not the only way to resolve a divorce. Many couples, for instance, choose to negotiate a marital settlement agreement (MSA) in an out-of-court setting. This allows couples to avoid litigation and gives them the power to come up with their own solutions to divorce-related issues.
What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?
Marital settlement agreements are a type of contract entered into by two spouses who are ending their marriage. MSAs usually deal with the financial issues of divorce, like how they will divide their marital assets and whether one party will be required to pay alimony to the other. Issues related to a couple’s children, however, like how time-sharing will be divided and who will be responsible for child support are addressed in a separate agreement known as a parenting plan, although this agreement will be referenced in the MSA. When a couple is able to reach an agreement on these issues, then they will present it to the court and if approved, it will become part of the final divorce decree. Because they are considered contracts, MSAs are legally enforceable.
What are the Advantages of a Marital Settlement Agreement?
There are a lot of benefits to entering into a marital settlement agreement rather than litigating a divorce in court. Negotiating a MSA, for instance, is a lot more private than going to court. This is because divorce proceedings are considered a matter of public record, meaning that anyone can obtain details of the dispute. When a couple engages in out-of-court negotiations, however, and enters into a marital settlement agreement, the details of their divorce will remain private. Other advantages include:
- More flexibility and control by divorcing couples, who have much more say over the outcome of their divorce when they negotiate out-of-court;
- Avoiding litigation and conflict, as going to court tends to be not only expensive, but also time-consuming and stressful;
- Narrowing the issues that must be litigated, with couples able to reach agreements on things that they can negotiate and leaving only those on which agreements can’t be reached up to a judge; and
- Creating an enforceable contract, which can help lower the chances that one of the parties will ignore the terms.
For help determining whether a marital settlement agreement could be right for you and your family, please reach out to our legal team today.
Do You Need the Help of a Florida Divorce Lawyer?
MSAs are enforceable contracts, so it’s wise for divorcing couples to seek legal advice from an attorney before signing one. For help negotiating and drafting a marital settlement agreement during your own divorce, please call experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today. You can set up a free consultation by calling 954-945-7591 or by completing one of our online contact forms.